Commissioners Approve Tobacco-Free Parks Designation

Starting Jan. 1, there will be no smoking in Oconee County Parks.

There will be no smoking in Oconee County parks after the first of the year, according to a new designation approved Tuesday by the county's board of commissioners.

Officials accepted the move to tobacco-free parks without discussion, having considered the idea since October when it was by members of the citizens advisory committee on recreational affairs.

Was banning the use of tobacco products in parks the right move by commissioners? Tell us in the comments.

By Jan. 1, visitors will be banned from smoking and chewing tobacco outdoors at , , and the Bogart Sports Complex. Prior to the ban, only some of the county parks had designated smoking areas, but visitors didn't always know where they were or used them.

At , Chris Butts, a member of the advisory committee, presented a survey to officials showing that out of 400 respondents, 80 percent we're in favor of having tobacco-free parks in the county.

“We just think it's the right thing to do for the kids who use our parks,” Butts said at the meeting.

Parks and Recreation Director John Gentry told officials that staff shouldn't have much difficulty enforcing the new policy. If park patrons refuse the order they'll be politely asked to leave, he said.

“Most people will abide by it,” Gentry said. “It shouldn't be a problem.”


In other business commissioners approved:

  • A variance request for Rhonda Mobley to allow her property located on Dillard Road to be subdivided on an unpaved road.
  • Two variance requests for the Dave R. Knowlton estate located on Daniels Bridge and Mars Hill roads to reduce the landscape buffer and required conservation buffer between incompatible land uses.
  • Allocated $111,000 for Farmland Protection Funds for a 2010 farm submission.
  • Awarded a contract for the Calls Creek Wastewater Treatement Plant efficiency improvements to Southern Champion Construction at a cost not to exceed $376,104.
  • Awarded a 5-year annually renewable contract to Advanced Disposal for solid waste collection and disposal services for an intial period of Jan 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012.
  • Approved the appointments of Gina Lindsey as County Clerk, Jane Greathouse as Deputy Clerk and Daniel Haygood as County Attorney for one-year terms, expiring Dec. 31, 2012.


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